New York City Marathon 2014 Race Report

Running the New York City Marathon has been a LONG time coming! I had applied for the lottery several times while I was still in Columbus,and also tried to get guaranteed entry through time qualification. I qualified through time in 2011, and my Mom and I were supposed to run in 2012: Hurricane Sandy stopped us. We were supposed to run together last year, but my June knee surgery stopped me so my Mom ran on her own. This was FINALLY my year to run through the five boroughs, and what an experience

My training wasn’t as focused as it has been for some races in the past, I didn’t really do any speedwork and my single twenty-miler was perhaps five weeks out from race day. But I had confidence my body would remember what to do. My goal was 3:45 to earn guaranteed entry into Chicago 2015 so Mom and I could run that together. Then a few weeks ago I ran the Denver Rock and Roll half and surprised myself with a 7:40 pace. I revised my NYCM goal to 3:40: – Boston qualifying pace for my age group.

The weather leading up to the race wasn’t pretty, they were predicting temperatures in the 40s with 20mph winds, gusting up to 40 in places. I brought along a lot more clothing to run in than would be normal for me.

The few days in the city were fun: it was cool to go to the expo and chat with other excited runners. I thought I would be immune to running expos by now, but no luck. I bought a hoody as well as some shorts and compression socks (I was rethinking my tights plan for race day).

Elyssa and I went out for dinner in West Village Friday night: it was Halloween and we wanted to see the costumes. But it was a pretty laidback night. She understands the importance of a relaxing marathon weekend. On Saturday we mostly just lazed around the apartment; I finished reading “A Race Like No Other” but we did go to the gym so I could run 2.62 miles on the treadmill.We had GF pasta and sauteed spinach at home for dinner with some red wine, and then it was time to hit the hay!

New York City Marathon Pace BandI wore compression tights, injinji socks, my hokas, and the same long sleeved green shirt and RnRDenver shirt I wore for the half a few weeks ago. I also borrowed a really tight windbreaker from Erin. I had my Flipbelt for my phone, two gels, my phone, advil and lipbalm. I’d made a playlist but hadnt really spent any time to figure out at what time different songs would play. But some of it worked out just perfectly!

I woke up to the wind absolutely howling, and an email from the NYRR saying that due to high winds, they wouldn’t be putting up as much shelter as normal over in Staten Island. Brrrr!
Staying in Brooklyn was pretty awesome; after my breakfast of gf toast and justins choc/pb spread, I left her place at 6:03 to grab the 6:08 train. I was at the ferry terminal around 6:20 and over in Staten Island shortly after 7. At the Village I wandered a bit in my fancy goodwill-purchased warmup clothes before heading into my corral (Orange, 1-B) around 8:30. Actually, before I did that I did some dynamic warmup and tried to stretch my hips out.

I hung out in the corrals and chatted with folks; They closed the corrals at 8:55 but let us stay in them until close to 9:30 (the race was set to start at 9:40). I had heard that generally they make people wait on the bridge and it;s really cold, so this was a welcome surprise.

I had made an NYCM-specific pace band online, which took into account the course elevation. It was fantastic and I think really contributed to a great race.

At every mile marker I’d gauge my overall elapsed time with my target (I was ahead the whole race), and then take a look at the recommended pace for the upcoming mile and try to meet it, or at least understand its relative difficulty. While I wasnt great at keeping myself with honest in not going too fast, it did help give me some guidance.

And now the play-by-play:

One thing I noticed pretty consistently was something that Darren told me when he was coaching me – that you get 15 seconds per mile when running at sea level. Sure enough, I often found myself speeding along a good 10-15 seconds faster than my intended pace (during the first half at least)

Song #1: Taylor Swift: Welcome to New York “it’s been waiting for you”
1: 9:54 / 9:54 — 8:39 / 8:39
2: 7:21 / 17:16 — 7:15
3: 8:33 / 25:49 – 7:48

5K 24:34 (7:54mm)

4: 8:18 / 34:08 — 7:57
5: 8:18 / 42:27 — 7:59
6: 8:07 / 50:34 — 8:07

Song: Jay-Z: “Empire State of Mind”
10K: 49:53 (8:02mm)

7: 8:15 / 58:50 — 8:03
8: 8:24 / 1:07:14 — 8:07
9: 8:28 / 1:15:52 — 8:09

15K: 1:14:51 (8:02mm)

10:8:00 / 1:23:52 — 7:54:7
11:8:35 / 1:32:28 — 8:33
12: 8:07 / 1:40:35 — 7:57

20K: 1:40:26 (8:05mm)

13: 8:17 / 1:48:53 — 8:11
.1: 8:22 / 1:49:47

HALF: 1:46:06 (8:06mm)
So at the half, I was 3:41 ahead – which I felt pretty good about, although I knew this course was harder in the second half, and I’d heard that for every 30 seconds you bank in the first half, you lose two min on the backside..

14: 8:26 / 1:57:19 — 8:22
15: 8:38 / 2:05:58 — 8:32

25K: 2:06:49 (8:10mm)

16: 8:48 / 2:14:46 — 8:44
17: 8:02 / 2:22:48 — 8:02
18: 8:08 / 2:30:57 — 7:57

Just as a gust of wind was assaulting us, Ke$ha’s “Blow” came on

30K: 2:32:00 (8:09mm)

I made one really critical mistake with my playlist. Why oh why did I think Tracy Chapman would be good, especially this late in the game??? But I didnt want to fish my phone out to change the playlist so I just let it go.

19: 8:15 / 2:39:13 — 8:25
20: 8:27 / 2:47:40 — 8:38
21: 8:20 / 2:56:00 — 8:34

I was definitely starting to drag, but then just as I crested the final bridge and re-entered Manhattan, All Day by Girl Talk came on. That buoyed my spirit, if not my legs as much as I would have liked.

35K: 2:58:34 (8:13mm)

22: 8:17 / 3:04:17 — 8:18
23: 8:19 / 3:12:36 — 8:25
24: 8:56 / 3:21:32 — 10:09

40K: 3:26:40 (8:19mm)

25: 8:11 / 3:29:44 — 8:45
26: 8:23 / 3:38:07 — 8:41
.2: 1:52 / 3:40:00 — 2:00

Target: 3:40:00
Finish time: 3:38:41 (8:21 pace)

I knew I was struggling in the last few miles, but this is known to be a tough course, especially in the second half. I ended up with something like a 6 minute positive split, but Elyssa assures me that’s about normal.

My first road marathon was 3:38:39 in 2004. Pretty neat that my first post-surgery road marathon was 3:38:41 in 2014!

Based on this finish, I should be eligible for Boston in 2016!

I finished the run feeling spent, but not in complete pain. I switched my phone off airplane mode and was bombarded with text messages of encouragement from friends! I grabbed a water and called my parents. As I walked through the finisher’s chute (which wasn’t yet slammed with finishers), a volunteer draped the fancy finisher’s poncho around me and I wandered almost immediately onto the train to go back to Elyssa’s. There I showered, went and got some AMAZING food, and started writing this race report. My stomach didn’t feel great, but it wasn’t too bad at all. My left hip was sore but I came through relatively unblistered.

It wasn’t an easy race, but it was pretty special. I’m so thankful I FINALLY got a chance to run it, and I’m pretty happy with my time. I know how easy it will be to continue to get back to my old level of fitness (maybe not the whole way back, but a good ways). Truly, I am a marathoner and I am so happy to get back to feeling like me.